Types of Fires
The classification of the fire relates to the fire’s fuel and what is burning, as follows:
- CLASS A - Fires that involve ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, rubber, textiles, and many plastics.
- CLASS B - Fires that involve flammable liquids such as grease, oil, paint, lacquers, some plastics, and gasoline.
- CLASS C - Fires that involve energized electrical equipment such as appliances, televisions, radios, computer equipment, wiring, circuit breakers, or fuse boxes.
Multi-purpose "ABC" dry chemical extinguishers are supplied by the building to handle all classes of office fires. These chemical-based extinguishers can cause damage to electronic equipment. A fire in electronic equipment rooms will always require the use of an "ABC" rated fire extinguisher: "A" because there is likely to be paper nearby, "B" because there may be oil or grease involved, and "C" because it is electrical equipment.
Arrangements with the Management Office should be made to protect areas such as computer rooms, mailrooms, and duplicating and storage areas with fire rated enclosures and fire extinguishers. Depending on the size and value of these areas, additional smoke detectors or automatic extinguishing systems are recommended.
Portable Fire Extinguisher Operation
Portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or suppressing it until the Fire Department arrives; however, portable extinguishers have limitations. They are not designed to fight large or fast-spreading fires. Most portable extinguishers have a short range (6-10 feet) and completely discharge in a very short time (8-10 seconds). As a general rule, fire fighting should be left to the Fire Department, who should be called in the event of any building fire.
Before a tenant considers fighting any fire, know the following:
- Make sure that the Fire Department (911) and the Management Office have been notified.
- Never fight the fire unless you are sure that you have the proper size and type of extinguisher and you have been properly trained in its use. The extinguisher must be rated for the type of fire you are fighting.
- Fight the fire from a safe distance and with a buddy. Use the buddy system.
- Never let the fire get between you and the exit.
- Even if the fire is extinguished, the area must be inspected by the Fire Department.
- The extinguisher must be fully charged; otherwise, it may be ineffective.
- If in doubt, close off and leave the area immediately.
There are four basic steps to operating a portable fire extinguisher. An easy way to remember the procedure is to think of the word “PASS.”
- PULL: Holding the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, pull the pin, which is located below the trigger. Some extinguishers require releasing a latch or pressing a puncture lever.
- AIM: Aim low. Standing 6-8 feet away from the fire, point the nozzle at the base of the fire. Always hold the extinguisher vertically. Never hold it horizontally or at an angle.
- SQUEEZE: Squeeze the trigger/handle slowly and evenly. This releases the extinguishing agent.
- SWEEP: As the agent is being expelled, sweep the nozzle from side to side. As the fire begins to go out, move closer to the fire and continue the sweeping motion until the fire is extinguished. If the fire does not diminish or it grows, get out of the area. Close any doors in order to contain the fire to the immediate area.
Most portable extinguishers work according to these directions, but some do not. Be prepared by making sure you read the directions on your fire extinguishers before a fire emergency happens.
ABC fire extinguishers are located throughout the general building areas in wall cabinets on every floor. All occupants should know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher and read the instructions.
Tenant Evacuation Procedures
Typically, only four floors will be evacuated in the event of a fire or smoke emergency in this building. These four floors consist of the emergency/fire floor, one floor above this floor, and two floors below the fire/emergency floor.
If you see smoke and/or fire:
- Pull any manual pull station and leave the area
- When alarms sound and strobes flash – follow the directions of your Floor Warden and evacuate to your designated area using exit stairs – do not use the elevators
- Close but do not lock the doors
- Remain in your evacuation area until an all clear is given by the Fire Department
If you smell smoke:
- Call the Management Office 415.777.3345, they will investigate
- Notify your Floor Warden
- Prepare to respond to instructions
- In the event of an evacuation – do not use the elevators
The Management Office will notify the Fire Department, if needed, with this information:
- Type of Emergency (fire, smoke, or both)
- Floor Number
- Specific location of fire/smoke on the floor
More specifically, the following evacuation procedures should be observed:
- Before opening any door to the corridor, check the door and doorknob for heat using the back of your hand. If it is warm, stay in your office and, if possible, seal the door seams using wet towels. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR! Find another exit to the corridor.
- If both your door and doorknob are not hot, and you leave your office:
- Check for smoke in the corridor.
- When smoke is present, stay low by crawling since clean air is one to two feet from the floor.
- Everyone should proceed quickly and calmly to the nearest stairwell. However, in the event of heavy smoke accumulation, evacuate to the smoke-free stairwells. DO NOT RUN! All the stairwells are constructed with fire-resistant materials to provide safe evacuation for building occupants.
- DO NOT PANIC! Panic is the most harmful and most difficult element to control in an emergency. Avoiding panic is accomplished through the following steps:
- Knowledge of procedures that must be followed.
- Confidence in the responsible personnel's ability and guidance.
- Calmness and self-confidence of responsible personnel.
- Knowledge of procedures that must be followed.
- DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS!
- Check stairwells for smoke.
- If the corridor and/or stairwells are smoke filled, RETURN TO YOUR OFFICE.
- Once you’re in the stairwell, should you encounter smoke on your descent, get out of the stairwell into any clear corridor and proceed to a different stairwell.
- Evacuate to the exact area designated by the Fire Department, Management Office, or the tenant (Assistant) Floor Wardens.
- Check for smoke in the corridor.
- The last person leaving any enclosed office area should close the office door, without locking it. This will help to confine any fire until the arrival of the Fire Department.
- Form a single-file line at the stairwell exit door and proceed calmly and carefully down the staircase to the first floor and proceed to your relocation area. No one, however, should open any door without first checking to see if it is hot. If the door is hot, there is undoubtedly a fire on the other side. Proceed to another floor.
- Conversation should be kept to a minimum. Everyone should stay in a single-file line on the right side of the staircase to allow the Fire Department to pass on the left side of the stairwell.
- Once the evacuation has begun, no one should attempt to re-enter the evacuated area until it has been declared safe by the Fire Department officials or Building Management.
- Persons Needing Assistance should wait at the stairwell entrance and exit with assistance after all other occupants have exited the floor. An evacuation assistant should notify the Fire Department of the location of persons needing assistance and stay with these persons until they are evacuated.
- The (Assistant) Floor Warden should take a head count to determine if everyone is accounted for. If someone is missing, this information should be relayed immediately to the city authority that is on site or Management Office.
If evacuation of an area is not possible because fire or thick smoke blocks all escape routes, the following procedures should be observed:
- Move as far away from the fire or smoke as possible. Close all doors as you go. Every closed door between you and the fire provides a barrier against smoke.
- If a phone is accessible, call the Fire Department (911) and then the Management Office 415.777.3345 with your precise location.
- Stuff clothing or other material around ventilation ducts and cracks in the doors to prevent smoke-filled air from penetrating the area.
- DO NOT BREAK WINDOWS. Under certain conditions, an open window may draw smoke into the area. If the glass has been broken, there will be no way to stop the smoke from entering the room.
Daily Fire Prevention Tips
- Make sure appliances such as coffee makers are turned off when not in use.
- If electrical equipment or a fluorescent light is not working properly, or if it gives off an unusual odor, disconnect the equipment or turn off the light and call the Management Office at 415.777.3345.
- Leave plenty of space for air to circulate around electric office equipment and other equipment that normally gives off heat.
- At the close of business, make sure the power is shut off on all office equipment.
- Extension cords and space heaters are not allowed in the building. If you need another electrical outlet or have heating/cooling concerns, please call the Management Office.
- All aisles leading to an Exit must maintain a 44” wide path free of obstructions to provide a safe means of egress.